Manchester City captain Fernandinho shocked his manager Pep Guardiola by revealing he is not planning to sign a new deal to keep him at the club beyond this season.
The 36-year-old is out of contract in the summer and speaking to the press ahead of Man City’s Champions League quarter-final second-leg clash with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, the Brazilian, who has played more than 370 games for City in all competitions, revealed he is unlikely to extend his stay to a 10th season with the Premier League champions.
When asked if he wants to leave the Etihad Stadium to play more, he said: “Yes, I want to play. I want to play regularly.
“I will go back to Brazil. I decided with my family, which is the most important for me.”
The former Brazil international, who signed a one-year contract extension last June, has won four Premier League titles and six League Cups since joining City from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013.
Fernandinho later issued a statement on Twitter saying he had given an “honest and spontaneous” answer over his future and was fully committed to City’s bid for the treble.
He said: “I was 100 per cent honest and spontaneous in answering that question at today’s press conference.
“But anyone who knows me also knows that my greatest honesty is with Man City and my duties as team captain.
“My focus is 100 per cent on winning all the titles we are playing for and I will only talk about my future at the end of the season. Let’s keep pushing!”
Pep on Fernandinho’s announcement: ‘I didn’t know’
Fernandinho’s potential exit was news to Man City boss Pep Guardiola, who was facing the media shortly after his club captain.
When asked about Fernandinho’s possible departure, Guardiola said: “Oh! I didn’t know.
“You give me the news. I didn’t hear it.
“We will see what happens. I don’t know what will happen. He is so important. I’ll ask him.”
The City boss added: “At the end of the season we talk, maybe it’s because of his family. I would love it. We will talk.”
Pep: ‘Incredible’ Fernandinho still plays a key role
Fernandinho made his last start for City in the home Champions League tie against Sporting in early March, but Guardiola said his club captain – who he described as an incredible player for Manchester City’ – had continued to play a key role with the Premier League champions
Guardiola said: “The role he plays this season – I like the people who behave behind the scenes.
“I know what he has done, behind me, he handles many of our players and stars for the benefit of the team.
“I praise him and he was here when I arrived. Raheem (Sterling), Kevin (De Bruyne), John (Stones), a few players.
“We know him well, from day one to now always here.
“An incredible player for Man City. There are things nobody knows but I know exactly.”
Days back in training | Pep: Everyone will be important
Heading into Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg clash Man City hold a slender 1-0 lead over Atletico Madrid thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s goal at the Etihad Stadium as they bid to stay on course for the treble.
Guardiola revealed defender Ruben Dias had returned to training and will be traveling with the squad, and he has no new injury or suspension problems.
The Portugal centre-half has been sidelined since early March due to a thigh injury.
Guardiola said: “He (Dias) travels with us and the rest, all of them are fit
“Maybe (he will play on Wednesday), I don’t know. He makes one training session and six weeks off… The fact he’s back is incredible and we have a big schedule until the end of the season.
“Everyone will be important.”
Manchester City’s fixture schedule:
To be rearranged: Wolves premier league
April 13 – Atletico Madrid (a) Champions League QF second leg
April 16 – Liverpool (Wembley) FA Cup semi-finals
April 20 – Brighton (h) premier leaguelive on Sky Sports
April 23 – Watford (h) premier league
April 26/27 – Chelsea/Real Madrid Champions League SF first leg *
April 30 – leeds premier leaguelive on Sky Sports
May 3/4 – Chelsea/Real Madrid Champions League SF second leg *
May 8 – Newcastle (h) Premier League, live on Sky Sports
May 14 – FA Cup final *
May 15 – West Ham (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports
May 22 – Aston Villa (h) premier league
May 28 – Champions League final *
* Subject to progress